Waiting for the God Beams in Iceland (and getting a clearer picture of the future), originally uploaded by Photomike07.
Life sometimes has a way of throwing you a curveball ….. what seems like a sneaky pitch, but a pitch you have to face head on. Even after a strikeout however, the seasoned batter takes the bench in stride and reflects. What went wrong, will he get to bat again in this inning, perhaps he needs a break for a couple of innings to get his game strategy on focus, or is he perhaps missing what the game is all about? By the way, I’m not sure where all this baseball talk is coming from…..hmm, guess I just feel like rambling out a few thoughts…..
A few years ago, about 25 actually, I embarked on a career. There were, and still are, a million things I love about this career. As a special event lighting designer and business owner, I have had the good fortune of working creatively and in synergy with countless colleagues all over the country. In this crazy and sometimes round the clock environment, I realized early on that I was about to lead a very lopsided life. As my dad used to always say, work hard and play hard. I soon adapted the same philosophy. As what I did was quite seasonal, I adapted quite early on, a concept of seasonal work. From about November to April was the crazy time. Countless late nights in the warehouse, drafting table, event sight, loading dock….wherever …thats just what it took. The balance in exchange for this chaos, was a time to recharge over the summer. Starting in the late 80’s, I decided to embrace a rather unique way to recharge and refocus. Just me, a backpack, an unlimited train pass, and Europe! What started out one year as a 2 week sabbatical, quickly blossomed into a 2 month yearly journey. For me, there has never been anything quite like a long train ride thru France, or perhaps a ferry ride between Greek Islands to get your perspective back on track. New ideas, creative visions, and plans had a time and place to grow. This annual summertime escape was what got me thru the insane season. And so, the seasonal focus of my company continued for several years, and that’s what worked best for me. So, what happened?
Well, for better or worse, life changes. Relationships begin, focuses change, new responsibilities come into the game, you expand your vision, you work harder and harder for what you think is your future, and in my case…..you totally forget about yourself. Yeah, you somehow put your own freakin life on the back burner! Of course, its not all bad when the relationship goes well, because somehow thats all part of the investment. But if it doesn’t work out, soon after it severs, and you dig a bit deep, you can start to wonder why you compromised so much of yourself and your own personal vision for so long. Yeah, maybe a bit too deep here, not sure.
So, to put it in plain English here, the sagging economy has forced me to make a few decisions. Actually, a major one was made a couple of months ago. What used to be only a seasonal workforce with my business, eventually, as other circumstances demanded, grew into a full time staff. I never planned it that way, it just kinda happened. That seemed to go well for a few years. This recent recession, however, forced me into laying off the staff for the summer except for a couple of small projects. I use the word staff, but I use it with much hesitation. I think the proper word is Team. It was a hard call to make as every member of this “Team” has a very special life and circumstance that has now had to adjust to a new focus and future. I can’t hardly thank them for all they have done for me and this company.
As I know that my little company is but only one in possibly thousands throughout this country and perhaps the world that has had to adjust, I still must think of myself. I have taken this recent down time to begin recharging and reinventing myself through a deeper investigation into self growth books and CD’s. I have also been getting caught up on some reading on subjects like trend predictions, business strategies, and creative processes. I hope to incorporate some of my findings and thoughts into some future blog posts as I continue on my personal journey of discovery.
Perhaps I was on to something in my early years in business in my “European” approach to life and work. A current trend in employment strategies is that of project based or freelance agreements. The film industry is a great example of that. Another word for this is the “Business Colony.” In this business model, talent such as directors, cameramen, makeup artists, etc. swarms and forms around a specific project. Once the project is complete, the workers swarm and form around anther project. Perhaps this might be the new model for me? I have a lot to consider, thats for sure. Perhaps a little peak into the past can provide a clearer vision for the future.